Friday, May 29, 2009

You, the Image of God!

Post 6

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

The image of God is prominent in the chapter from which you have been reading so often these days. It is something you are created with. Let’s take a closer look at it.

First, note how it is emphasized. In verse (vs) 26 we overhear God planning to “make man in our image, in our likeness.” “Image” and “likeness” mean the same thing here. Then, in vs. 27 God carried out His plan and again the same terms are used. Obviously, this image stuff is something very important.

Secondly, note that there is no clear definition of this image here. This is true also for the rest of the Bible. The Bible is not a dictionary or a book of definitions. It is the Book of Life! Of Reality, not of arid definitions. This does not mean that we cannot glean its meaning from the Bible, something to which I will return soon in another blog.

Thirdly, note the great honour involved in having the image of God imprinted upon you. I suspect that most people reading these blogs are average people without much power or wealth. Just imagine: you, an average, ordinary citizen, maybe not even a citizen, you carry within yourself the image of the Most High of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, of your Creator. That is no small thing about you!

You may be average or even less than average, but listen. Get this straight! It is not the fact that you are average and either relatively or wholly powerless that defines you, that is the most important thing about you. It is the image of God in you that defines you and determines your status. You have every reason to lift up your head and stand tall and straight. You are somebody! You are important. Don’t belittle yourself as a useless, powerless or poor person and therefore helpless. The image of God in you!

Bearing this image is not the privilege of a select group of people. We make class distinctions; God does not. We honour some and despise others. Some are considered great, while others are despised as small. Throughout human history, the rich and powerful use the poor and powerless for their own purposes.

The problem is that many poor people not only agree that they are poor, but also that they are powerless—and therefore they are powerless. We think ourselves into that status and therefore we acquiesce, we give in and let the powerful get away with it. Nigerian villagers often give in and even go further by belittling themselves as illiterates and mere talakawa (Hausa language term for the poor, powerless and largely disenfranchised.It took an Abraham Kuyper to liberate the same class of people called "kleine luyden" in The Netherlands. These talakawa and kleine luyden everywhere tend to honour and bow before the very people who despise and oppress them.

Wake up! Your are created in the image of the Most High. You deserve respect and honour as much as anyone. Maybe you have no wealth or power, but you carry that image. That realization should make you rise and stand tall; it can transform you into the person you are designed to be.

In closing, just a comment about Muslim reaction to the powerful concept of the image of God in us. They outrightly reject it—or so they think. I hope to address that soon in my other blog < Chrismus—ChristiansAndMuslims >, where I will show that perhaps what they reject is not the genuine concept but a distorted version of it. If you are a Muslim, please keep an eye on that blog for an explanation geared to you.

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